Touring Pro Series Weekly takes a closer look at the TPS action from across the site with driver interviews, race reports, admin announcements, and even trivia. American Touring Car Championship reaches round 5 for a drive through the bends and twists of Laguna Seca. Read about the five title contenders that now remain with a shot to win the 2012 crown…
And Then There Were Five…
Some refer to it as the greatest season in Formula 1 history. And, indeed, the 2010 FIA F1 championship was something special. But the reasons for such claims and accolades were the drivers– five of them, all within reach of a title only one could take… Well, for Season 4 of American Touring Car Championship, it would seem our virtual drivers are taking a cue from the giants of professional motosports.
You have Keith Barrick, who plays the role of Mark Weber, the older vette that’s been around the block, that keeps his head cool. Sure, sometimes he lacks the pace of the young guns, but Barrick is still out in front, still leading the championship charge late.
There’s Francesco Villar, who so similarly runs a season in Fernando Alonso fashion; the consummate pro, taking his BMW places it has no business being no matter the track or weather. And Villar so rarely makes the crucial mistakes seen so often when racing for such high stakes.
Miguel Neto carries the mantle of Lewis Hamilton, a driver with absurd speed but plagued by mistakes and inconsistency. Neto has been sharp as of late, but as commentary Ryan Callan is quick to point out, is it for real? And will it last?
And let’s not to forget our defending champion, Jesper Taulborg. Being the reigning champ naturally places him as Button in this haze of action. With having changed teams in the off season, Taulborg has had to move away from Eric Nelson( the Barrichello of ATCC due to his setup knowledge) and must prove himself while being paired with a title contending driver in Barrick. But the super smooth, Button-eisk style of Taulborg gives the Dane more than a puncher’s chance late.
Not saving the least for last there is Stoffel Vandoorne. Vandoorne may very well be the quickest driver ATCC has ever seen, giving him the tag of Vettel. After having early season woes that saw Vandoorne all but dead in the title hunt, the Belgian has surged back into contention, ringing out pace and a level-headedness far beyond his years.
With only 3 rounds remaining in what is turning into the best title fight ATCC has ever seen, any of these five drivers can take the hardware. The question is which of these speedsters can avoid the trouble that’ll land them out of contention? Is Barrick’s lack of race-winning pace going to catch up with him? Will Francesco Villar be able to regain control of the action through race 2, something he seemingly mastered last season? Are Miguel Neto’s woes truly behind him? Does the Iceman Jesper Taulborg have yet another championship run in him? Or will Stoffel Vandoorne do the unthinkable and win the 2012 title after missing 2 rounds in server 1?
We don’t know… but more than likely it’ll come down to the final races, so make sure to tune in on Friday nights to catch the action live!
Callan vs Levesque: Clio Euro Series Round 2
There were a lot of stories coming out of round 1 at Poznan GP. But through the bad and good, one thing was established: William Levesque meant business. The French-Canadian served up a heavy helping of dust and force fed it to his competitors. One of which was TPS headman Ryan Callan, seizing the win from the Brit in race 1.
Heading into round 2, speculation was that perhaps some of the bad feelings from Poznan hadn’t all dissipated. As the field took the lights at Autumn Ring, it wasn’t long before Callan was off in the lead. But for this round, he also had teammate Florian Strauss right with him. But the German fell off, and soon left Ryan alone to fend off the charging threat of THR’s William Levesque and Chris Butcher.
And then trouble hit.
After leading from the start, Ryan Callan was aggressively overtaken by Levesque for the lead on the final lap. In short order, Callan was also done in by Butcher. In race 2, after once again assuming the lead (making it 4 of 4 races Ryan has lead in) Levesque also broke free of Florian Strauss to claim second. He made quick work of chasing down Callan, pulling in the Brit at a tremendous clip. Fearful of once again being hunted and overtaken by the French-Canadian, Callan inexplicably sent word to his pit box to get ready.
And then the unthinkable happened. Ryan Callan and Florian Strauss pitted (1st and 4th on the grid). The move sent the two riffling down the order, but in the end, Callan took 2nd and Florian 6th.
Ryan refused to talk to reporters following the race, but our media crew caught up with him recently to get a comment. “William’s move was a bit… rough,” the Brit told us. “I suppose I shouldn’t have given him room to do it, but…”
When asked about his race 2 strategy, Callan said, “I didn’t think I had much of a chance if I had stayed out. Coming in, I thought I’d at least be able to fight for the win…”
As it turns out, Wiliam Levesque took the double-win, and has won 3 out of 4 rounds in Clio Euro Series. Jack Keithley made a tremendous run through the field to finish 3rd after starting from 31st in race 2. But it wasn’t enough to prevent Levesque from keeping his title lead.
The series now has an off week before reconvening at Thruxton for round 3. Until then!
ATCC Grass Roots: By Will Marquez
Will Marquez is the latest addition to the TPS Weekly staff. The columnist traces his simracing roots back over five years. For the Weekly issue 7, he takes a look back at American Touring Car Championship’s humble beginnings…
Sometimes people ask me how I got started with simracing. Well, I tell them it all began one day by asking on the RD forums if anyone had a WTCC Honda setup for Brands Hatch. I remember it just like it was yesterday. I was invited to come join in on some fun club events by none other than Keith Barrick. My first online racing experience was in a full on wet weather race. Asking quite a lot for a simracing noob. But it was this club event that got me hooked on racing nearly 5 years ago.
The drivers in ATCC are racing in a highly competitive Season 4. But let’s take a step back and rewind to Season 1, where it all began. With full club event grids each Friday night. These races were the most popular hands down and something I always looked forward to each week. When the American Touring Car Championship was established. This would be my first league that I would be a part of. Now besides there being really fast drivers on track such as Yuri Braham, Abdul Ahmed, Keith Barrick, Brandon Lawson and Adam Vaughan to name a few that would challenge one’s racing abilities on track. The thing that absolutely I enjoyed about this league besides that racing was the help you would get leading up to the races. Need a fast stable setup? Simply ask on the forums and there would be setups available that drivers would share along with replays to help get you up to speed.
Now of course it all comes down to the racing on track. And the racing was side to side and bumper to bumper exactly what we are seeing today on the broadcasts. Each season the level of competition has gotten better and better. From Season 1 to Season 2, all the drivers stepped up their level of racing. It was great to be a part of ATCC for the first 2 seasons. It truly is amazing to see where ATCC started from and what it is today. Unfortunately for myself, sometimes real life scheduling gets in the way. But that doesn’t keep me from tuning in each Friday night to watch the old and new ATCC drivers compete for the Season 4 championship. With 3 more races to go and the championship contenders with the likes of Francisco Villar, Jesper Taulborg and Keith Barrick only separated by 9 points in the standings. There still is a lot up for grabs. So grab some popcorn and a nice cold beverage and sit back and enjoy the show!
TPS History–Historical Races
Adam Vaughan has talent. But like so many in Touring Pro Series, the young Brit had no hardware, no titles to his name. Well, for Clio Euro Series season 1, Vaughan decided to change that, putting down an effort to be reckoned with. However, for the final round at Magnificent Park, Adam still had to deal with Jesper Taulborg, the greatest champion in TPS history. Could he do it? Could he somehow defeat the man that so many have tried and failed against? Could he defeat the Iceman?
Well, they don’t now call Adam the Clio Euro Series season 1 champ for nothin’…
TPS Historical Moment #7–Breaking the Ice
V8 Special Edition
Look out for the special edition of TPS Weekly, featuring full-on blitz coverage of the 2012 Virtual V8 Supercars championship. The issue is expected out in the coming weeks, with driver interviews, season recaps, and much more!
Like many good things in life, Touring Pro Series happened by accident.
American Touring Car Championship was planning their first ever live broadcast, which was for a pre-season event at Nurburgring GP. Longtime and very popular RD commentary Simon Smith was set to call the race. When the U.K. man had trouble getting home for the event, Ryan Callan volunteered to fill in. The broadcast was a huge success. But ATCC admin Keith Barrick appreciated the gesture of young Callan so much that he befriended the Brit almost immediately, beginning the odd-couple relationship the duo now hold today. A friendship that would later spawn the birth of TPS as you know it.